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Rangers' David Quinn calls Mike Babcock 'one of the best coaches in our profession'

In this April 25, 2019, file photo, Toronto

In this April 25, 2019, file photo, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock speaks to reporters in Toronto. The Maple Leafs fired Babcock on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, and replaced him with Sheldon Keefe.  Credit: AP/Christopher Katsarov

David Quinn reflected on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ firing of coach Mike Babcock on Wednesday and replacing him with their AHL coach, Sheldon Keefe.

“I know him a little bit,’’ Quinn said of Babcock. “Listen, this is a hard profession; everybody knows it. And you're talking about one of the best coaches in our profession. We don’t all get to coach in one place for 10 years, or 12 years, and leave on our own terms.

“The one thing I'm probably 100 percent sure is that he's going to get another job,’’ Quinn continued. “He's done a heckuva job every place he's been. Hey, listen, there's only 31 of us, so it's a tough gig. And you hate to see it happen anybody.’’

Mika in the mix?

Quinn wouldn’t rule out the chance that Mika Zibanejad, who missed his 10th straight game with an upper body injury, might go with the team to Ottawa and Montreal this weekend.

“Not sure yet,’’ Quinn said. “We'll know tomorrow. But he's getting close. He skated - had a good another good day today, so we'll talk again tomorrow after he skates.

“Everything’s on the table.’’

Zibanejad hasn’t played since he suffered the injury after being hit by Patrice Bergeron near the end of the first period in a game against Boston Oct. 27. He initially was listed as being out “day-to-day.’’

Zibanejad didn’t skate for about a week after the injury occurred and skated with the team in a morning skate prior to the Nov. 6 game against Detroit. But then he backed off skating, and didn’t return to the ice until late last week. He skated with the team at Tuesday’s practice, wearing a red (no contact) jersey.

Andersson scores for Wolf Pack

Lias Andersson, who was sent to Hartford Sunday, played his first game for Wolf Pack Wednesday and scored the only goal in the team’s 3-1 loss to Syracuse.

Quinn was asked if the Rangers need Andersson to produce offense while he is playing in the AHL.

“I think, if he does all these things we've touched on, he will produce, because he's got an offensive side to him,’’ the coach said.

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